Several years ago, my friend Bubba and I decided we would take our wives on a weekend trip to the beach. Now, if you have been keeping up with my column, you know that going anywhere with Bubba is an adventure.
Bubba was working second shift at a local mill and we decided to pull out for the beach when he got off from work on a Friday night. Bubba wanted us to drive his car, so it was midnight before we got loaded up and headed for the beach.
We were headed down to Cherry Grove or North Myrtle as people call it today. We traveled down Highway 38 to Bennettsville, South Carolina, where we caught S.C. 9 on through Dillon. Things were fairly quiet because there wasn’t much traffic on the road that time of the night. ‘Bout the only things we saw was an occasional deer or possum beside the road.
Then It happened! On the long stretch of road between Green Sea and Long, South Carolina; where the swamps are on both sides of the road, our tire blows out. Boom.
Now, folks, this should be a fairly simple job for two men to fix; if’n you got the right tools, don’t you know? Well, Bubba and I unloaded the luggage out of the trunk to get to the spare tire and I’m telling you, them women had packed a lot. We stacked the luggage beside the car and got the spare tire out. Then we got the tire tool out, but where was the jack?
Now, anybody knows you got to have some type of jack to change a tire right. I says: ”Bubba, where’s the jack?”
Now, Ol’ Bubba is a good feller, but sometimes I think he is about two french fries short of a Happy Meal. Bubba didn’t do nothing but scratch his head and says, “Boy, I should have known better than to loan my jack to my brother-in-law. He don’t bring nothin’ back.”
Folks, we were in a little bit of a predicament. Weren’t no houses anywhere in sight and hardly any traffic going by. The only thing that was going by was mosquitoes. Why, they was big enough to pick up our car if they wanted to. We didn’t know if’n we might have to put our wives out to thumbing or not.
Weren’t long we seen the headlights of a car coming way down the road, and it was swerving a little. Well, Bubba just stands out in the road and flags the swerving car down. The car pulls in behind us and this here stranger kinda staggered out.
“ Looks like y’all got yourself a flat tare,” said the stranger.
“Yes sir,” said Bubba. “We got a spare tire, but haven’t got a jack. Reckon you’d be having one?”
The stranger started in on Bubba, “Ain’t got a jack, ain’t got a jack. Where you folks from — the moon? Out here in the middle of nowhere without a jack.”
Kinda made Bubba mad, and he said to the stranger “Have you got one?”
The stranger says, “Why, sure I have,” and he started digging in his trunk. I’ll bet he threw out a dump truck full of empty beer cans and several liquor bottles right beside the road and still couldn’t come up with a jack.
Finally, he says “Ain’t got time to fool with y’all. Why, you’d drive a fellow to drinking!” He drove off, leaving the four of us beside the road.
Well, after what seemed like an hour and hundreds of mosquito bites, four men in a pickup pulling a boat stopped behind us and helped us change the tire. Thank the Lord we were on our way to the beach again.
It seems when bad luck comes, it likes company, and it seems Bubba had a lot of company that weekend. Why, the very next day, we were all fishing off the pier. Bubba’s hands were slick from baiting his hook and his high school ring slid off his finger.
The ring just rolled down the middle of the pier as pretty as you please. Bubba thought he had plenty time to catch it before it rolled off the side of the pier. Wrong! For ‘bout the time he reached to get it, I want you to know it fell through a knothole right into the Atlantic Ocean. As quick as that, it was gone.
Now if’n that weren’t enough, Bubba’s wife accidentally done threw his new rod and reel in the ocean. Bubba says, “ What else can happen?” Little did he know, the next day while he was surf fishing, he would throw his other rod and reel in the water while being chased by a shark.
Well, that’s just one of my experiences with Bubba, but as you probably know if you read my column, there will be more to come in the future.
J.A. Bolton is a member of the N.C. Storytelling Guild, Richmond County Writers’ Club and the Story Spinners in Laurinburg.